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John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: john_regener

Post Number: 150
Registered: 04-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 03:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

SWEET'S CDs: Almost as bad as getting a virus?

Has anyone else suffered a computer crash due to installing the Winter 2004 Sweet's CDs?

I dutifully installed the Winter 2004 Sweet's CDs so that I could write accurate and timely commentary about Sweet's in the forthcoming 5th Edition of Construction Specifications Writing: Principles and Practices. Boy, did I get an education.

I received the CDs on December 30 or 31, via UPS, courtesy of the California Council of AIA. (I'm a Sweet's subscriber and usually receive two sets of the CDs as a member of both SCIP and AIA.) I procrastinated through the New Year's holiday and then installed the CDs on January 3 ... or, I attempted to install them. For those who don't know, Sweet's issued, via First Class (snail) Mail, and I received on January 6, a notice that there was a problem with the Sweet's CDs for those who use Windows 98 or Windows NT operating systems. I use Windows 98. (Why is a matter for another discussion.)

The Sweet's CDs installation corrupted some essential Windows 98 files. I could not boot my computer except with the Windows "Rescue" diskette, which only enables the computer to be diagnosed and repaired. Being on a weekend, my computer guru was not available and I had work to get done in two days. So, I was forced to fix the problem myself, using my somewhat-more-than-novice abilities, but it meant cancelling a planned trip to the LA Automobile Show (and that hurt!).

I fiddled with the computer problem for three hours, including reinstalling Windows 98. Finally, I came up with the idea to copy from another computer the files identified in the error messages on the corrupted computer. I was fortunate to have two other computers running Windows 98 so I could copy the files and overwrite the corrupted files on my primary PC. This solved the immediate problem of getting my primary PC functional ... with a few additional tweaks due to reloading of Windows.

I called Sweet's technical support the morning after I received their lacksidaisical notice of impending doom due to their corrupting CDs. Of course, the number given on the notification is Sweet's general telephone number, which forces the caller to go through their telephone call routing process. I pressed the button for "technical support" but got a busy signal and then I was suddenly disconnected. I called back, went through the routing process again, got a busy signal followed by a recording offering me the opportunity to hold or leave a message. I held for three minutes and then chose to leave a message. About 40 minutes later, I received a call from a Sweet's technical support person.

The response was the same as on the mailed notification: (to paraphrase) "Gee, we're sorry there's a problem but you can still go to Sweet's online website and get the information you need." Wow. The bad news is, the CD's fouled up my PC. The good news is, I can still use Sweet's (if I can get another PC or figure out how to fix the fouled up one)! No acknowledgement of the magnitude of the problem this has created nor any offer to compensate for the time spent to fix the problem caused by Sweet's software.

I explained to the technical support person how I had restored the Windows operating system by copying files. She said, "That's what I was going to tell you to do." So, you better be more than a little bit computer savvy and have redundant computer resources if you have to fix this problem.

I requested that a Sweet's manager contact me about compensation for my lost time (three hours of chargeable time) and to discuss how I will report my experience with Sweet's. So far, no response. Thus, this message to the world of construction specifications writing as a warning about our "friends" at McGraw-Hill Sweet's.

I talked to a colleague about this problem and he reminded me that several years ago Sweet's issued CDs that had a virus. Obviously, Sweet's issues software without adequate testing.

I could not "uninstall" the Sweet's CDs using their "uninstall" program. I had to use the Windows "add/delete programs" function, but I did not delete the ".dll" extension files might be used by other programs. I expect that there will still be remnants of the Sweet's CD program remaining but, hopefully, there will be no significant consequences.

There won't be future problems for me and the Sweet's CDs. I've decided to never use them again. Not even as coasters. I can't afford the risk.

Caveat Emptor.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 48
Registered: 01-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 03:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I don't like floppies or CDs in the first place; if they require installation they go directly to the garbage.
David E Lorenzini
Senior Member
Username: deloren

Post Number: 27
Registered: 04-2000
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 04:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

John's experience points out one of the benefits of keeping your operating system up to date, whether PC or Mac. I installed Sweet's CD on my Windows XP system and had no problems whatsover. I went through the Tutorial and checked out other features.

This is just to avoid a panic with McGraw-Hill. What they did is unexcusable, but those with Windows XP, at least, can rest easy that the installation does work on their systems.

Note to those who have to use Windows 88 for compatibility with certain necessary software. There are ways to dual-boot multiple operating systems on the same hard disk. Alternatively, one computer can be assigned the older operating system to run the incompatible program, and networked to another computer that runs the latest operating system.

Another note about Windows XP. All previous Windows operating systms, including Windows 2000, would stzrt getting corrupted in about 9 to 12 months due to hard use on my system. I would always have to reinstall the OS to avoid hang ups, etc. Windows XP has now been installed for 12 months and is as reliable as when it was installed. All the Microsoft updates have been installed without a problem. Since the next version of Windows, called Longhorn, will not be out for almost two more years, I plan to nurture Windows XP as best I can.
David Axt, AIA, CCS, CSI
Senior Member
Username: david_axt

Post Number: 223
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - 07:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Sweets sent out an Important Message via postcard, saying, "Please DO NOT INSTALL the Sweets Winter 2004 CD. Please put the disks aside unitl further notice."

I put the disks aside.....in the black plastic upright rectangular file. These disks will be stored in the landfill for safe keeping.

BTW, this is where I file most of my manufacturer's CDs.

John McGrann
Username: jmcgrann

Post Number: 10
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 12:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Received the postcard yesterday, followed by an e-mail message about 30 minutes ago (11:44 EST). Although we don't have many folks using Win98 the disks went into file 13 anyway.

Doug Frank FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: doug_frank_ccs

Post Number: 60
Registered: 06-2002
Posted on Friday, January 09, 2004 - 08:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You All!!! I received the CD some time ago but hadn't made the time to install. I have not heard word one from Sweets, either e-mail or snail mail about the problem. Here I sit running 98; I would have been a sitting duck were it not for this message board. Thank You Colin and all you contributors.

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